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Reviews by Harold Bloomfield (

Daredevil #31

Daredevil again plays a small role in this chapter of Brian Michael Bendis' "Underboss."  He holds another discussion with Ben Urich and is directed to the pool hall from which the hit on Matt Murdock has been coordinated.  There he finds Vanessa Fisk is also a player in this drama.  My chief complaint with last issue was that the story was too slow moving.  Here it picks up steam in dramatic fashion.  Soon after Silke and the other conspirators against the Kingpin celebrate the success of their plot and start to plan ahead Vanessa Fisk makes her move.  She starts by confronting her son, Richard in a highly charged scene.  From there the story reminded me of a sequence in the Godfather as we go rapidly from hit to hit.  Silke, narrowly escaping the attempt on him, tries to turn himself in to the FBI after being rebuffed by his father.  While they demand he turn in his father in exchange for a leniency he offers them a secret he learned while in the employ of the Kingpin.

Everything about this issue clicks. The talk between Daredevil and Ben Urich works better than the one last issue.  Here there is none of the confusing misunderstanding that plagued their last discussion. There's another cigarette joke but this time it's subtle and Daredevil finds that Ben Urich has information and connections of his own.  As I mentioned before the confrontation between Vanessa Fisk and her son, Richard is the highlight of the issue.  From there events unfold in rapid fashion.  Silke's phone call to his father is a fine companion piece to the relationship between the Kingpin and Richard. Silke is not so different from Richard afterall.  The FBI's reaction to Silke is a gem.  His desperation to stay alive and out of jail leads to the conclusion where he offers up the only information not involving his father he has that he thinks is worth anything to the FBI.

Alex Maleev again delivers fine atmospheric artwork. The sequences of Daredevil in the pool hall, Vanessa and Richard, the murders and the attempt on Silke are all handled masterfully. The coloring is also impressive.  Dark for almost all of this arc a double page spread featuring the hits on the conspirators abruptly uses different background colors to striking effect. Immediately after that the attack on Silke uses the brightest backgrounds of the arc yet.

This issue more than makes up for the slow build up of the story to this point.  In fact that misgiving would disappear if all the issues were read together or in tradepaperback form. Rerad in that manner the story would have the greatest effect.

The swift and devastating counter attack of Vanessa's forces coming immediately on the heals of Silke's reveling in his triumph makes the cowardice of his reaction believable.  And it is all the more devastating as Bendis built slowly up to Silke's move only to have Vanessa strike it down with unmerciful swiftness. Afterall he plotted in the shadows and although he seemed to make a bold move he only acted after being practically assured of success.  And the telephone call to his father shows this is not his first miscalculation.

As good as this arc has turned out to be I think readers will only put up with Daredevil being a minor character in his book for so long. Now that Silke's actions have real and serious implications beyond the usual mob trouble for Daredevil maybe Bendis will turn his focus to the title character.

Daredevil (and other related characters appearing) and the distinctive likenesses are Trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc. and are used WITHOUT permission.
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